Effective HeadlinesThe first line your reader sees means the difference between success and failure. Most leads are clever headlines that play on words. Many are cute, but most aren’t effective.

We can learn to do better from recently-deceased report  Vincent Musetto, who wrote this “most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism. [see photo]

“What endured in public memory far longer than the crime was the headline, with its verbless audacity, arresting parallel adjectives and forceful trochaic slams. The corresponding headline in The New York Times that day proclaimed, genteelly, “Owner of a Bar Shot to Death; Suspect Is Held.” Headlessness was not mentioned until the third paragraph; toplessness not at all,” reports The New York Times.

You can do the same, even with far less sensationalism!

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Nancy Schwartz on June 10, 2015 in Messaging | 0 comments
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LisaSargent 2.1

Guest blogger Lisa Sargent is one of the best fundraisers and copywriters I know. She focuses here on donor communications, but her take is relevant for all nonprofit campaigns and audiences. Read on, and we up!

Lately it’s been that the 24/7 donor communications fiesta … is getting a little tired.

Same old players, same old info, recycled the same old ways: more you/less we, Flesch Kincaid and readability, ban all jargon, timely thank-yous, and on and on and on.

Then Nancy Schwartz wrote this. She said:

“[It’s] about WE…not you. This is a critical shift in voice that I’m starting to feel is very important.

For so long, experts have advised cause communicators to address prospects and supporters in second person—you. The shift to WE—signaling the power of collective action for stronger results—is a vital strategic shift.”

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Nancy Schwartz on June 9, 2015 in Messaging, Relevance Rules | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Communications JobsPost YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Citizen Outreach Staff Fund for the Pubic Interest: Environment Oregon (Portland, OR)

Communications Associate New York State Health Foundation (New York, NY)

Communications Coordinator Trillium Employment Services (Auburn, WA)

Communications Director National Domestic Violence Hotline (Austin, TX)

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Nancy Schwartz on June 8, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 2 comments
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Published in Ebony magazine, April 1967, Vol. 20 No. 6 “When the new antenna went live, you’d swear that Dizzy Gillespie was playing right next to you.”

I can easily visualize this scene, and hear it too. Can’t you?

In fact, this excerpt from WBGO’s (NYC’s premier jazz radio station) recent appeal made the listening-enriching value of the station’s new antenna crystal clear—by showing, not telling.

Compare it with another station’s intro of its new antenna:

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Nancy Schwartz on June 3, 2015 in Messaging | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Marketing JobPost YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Assistant Social Editor ProPublica (New York, NY)

Communications Director National Hispanic Media Coalition (Los Angeles, CA)

Communications Manager Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (New York, NY)

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Nancy Schwartz on June 1, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 1 comment
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Passion is Contagious & ConnectsLast summer, my husband and I finally visited The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, which had been on our go-to list for a decade. It’s the former country estate of noted turn-of-the-20th-century designer Gustav Stickley, a leader of “the Arts and Crafts movement in decorative arts, home building, and furnishing styles.” It’s the only house Stickley ever built for himself, so showcases his design esthetic, utopian vision and radical approach to daily life.

Here’s what surprised and delighted me:

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Nancy Schwartz on May 28, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments

Email Subject Line Length Does matterWelcome to our Proof Point series—highlighting research findings to use when advocating for the marketing approaches you know are right. 

Email subject line length DOES MATTER, as proven by Mail Chimp’s research on open rates for 200 million emails.

The best email subject lines are short [50 characters or less]…and provide the reader with a reason to explore your message further.

No surprise, as many email readers and browsers cut off subject lines there. But…

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Nancy Schwartz on May 21, 2015 in Proof Points | 5 comments
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Flickr: Bradley JohnsonHere’s how I partnered with a wonderful client organization to develop relevant, memorable messages (and guided graphics to match) that are bringing employees, supporters, partners and participants closer and motivating them to get more involved. YOU can do it too

The Challenge: Outdated Messages Were Deterring Key Actions: Registering, Donating, Partnering 

I recently completed an all-new message platform (tagline, positioning statement, talking points or key messages at organization and program level and elevator conversation) for the largest human services organization in Massachusetts.

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Nancy Schwartz on May 20, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments

Nonprofit Marketing JobsPost YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Administrative and Marketing Associate History Theatre (Twin Cities, MN)

Associate VP for News, Communications and Media Duke University (Durham, NC)

Chief Marketing Officer Jewish Board for Family and Children Services (New York, NY)

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Nancy Schwartz on May 18, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 2 comments
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Post YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Nonprofit Communications JobsAssociate Designer & Query/Segmentation Specialist & Knowledge and Instructional Design Specialist WGBH
(Boston, MA)

Communications Coordinator Envision Unlimited (Chicago, IL)

Communications Manager Justice at Stake (Washington, DC)

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Nancy Schwartz on May 11, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 2 comments
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